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Invitrogen Launches Cell Therapy Unit

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Invitrogen said today that it has created a new business unit that is focused on the cell therapy market.
 
The Carlsbad, Calif.-based firm said the new Cell Therapy Systems business would integrate relevant technologies, such as Dynal magnetic beads for cell isolation, Gibco cell expansion media, and Molecular Probes cell characterization tools.
 
“We bring project-management capabilities to the table, pulling together tools, reagents, and services from across the company to meet the specific needs of cell therapy companies,” said Joydeep Goswami, Invitrogen’s vice president of stem cells and regenerative medicine, in a statement.
 
Invitrogen began focusing more on the cell analysis tools market, rather than its traditional molecular biology markets, last year.
 
During the firm’s third-quarter conference call in October, Invitrogen CEO Greg Lucier said that the company planned to invest more heavily in cell biology because it saw “extremely promising growth trends” in the field. “We are putting the cell at the center of our strategy — [it is] the key link between our BioDiscovery and Cell Culture Systems segments,” Lucier said at the time.
 
Further to this strategy, in January Invitrogen acquired primary cell provider CellzDirect for around $57 million in cash. CellzDirect’s human hepatocyte-based cell products and services are used in drug testing, particularly for predicting the effect of compounds on enzymatic metabolism in the liver.
 
It also acquired cell culture technologies firm Cascade Biologics at the beginning of 2007, and earlier this year announced that it had made a minority investment in cell therapy firm Q Therapeutics, which is developing cell-based therapies for a variety of central nervous system and neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
 
Invitrogen currently reports financials for two primary business units: Bio-Discovery and Cell Systems. A company spokesperson said that the new Cell Therapy Systems unit would be part of the Cell Systems segment.